PHILADELPHIA >> It can be amazing just what seeing a ball go through a net can do for a basketball player’s confidence.
It can be just as amazing to see what happens when the ball steadfastly refuses to go into the net, like it refused to do for the Archbishop Wood girls basketball team Saturday evening. The Vikings couldn’t buy a bucket for most of the game and the rest of their game seemed to suffer as a result.
It all added up as too much to rally back from as the Vikings dropped a 47-32 contest with Delaware power Sanford as part of the Play-By-Play Maggie Lucas Classic at Jefferson University, Sunday.
“Kids get confidence by seeing the ball go in the basket and we just could never get it going,” Wood coach Mike McDonald said. “Even without the offense going, there were too many lapses defensively and rebounding the ball, it just didn’t seem like we had that energy and people didn’t want to make plays to get it going.”
Maybe the most telling play of the game came in the second half when Sanford point guard Lauren Parker-Lane out-hustled Wood (8-5, 4-1 PCL) for an offensive rebound. The junior is a terrific player, but she was also the smallest player on the court and still came down with the ball right under the basket between two Wood forwards.
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The Vikings scored the first six points of the game, then gave up the next 11 as Sanford took an 11-6 lead after the first quarter. Wood’s defense got better in the second, but the defending PIAA 5A champions still trailed 15-14 at the break mostly because of their shooting.
Wood finished the game 4-of-27 from the 3-point line and at the half, the Vikings were 2-of-14 from beyond the arc.
“We got a lot of open shots, that is a positive we can take from it,” McDonald said. “We got a lot of open shots when we were running our offense, we just have to knock them down. I hope we don’t shoot like that again, but even if we are, we have to be more confident going to the basket and not trying to avoid contact or things like that.”
Ryleigh Parsons had the two Wood 3-pointers in the first half and led the Vikings in scoring with eight points. McDonald noted the play of Parsons, a junior guard, and freshman Kaitlyn Orihel for trying to provide the energy the team seemed to lack.
Wood appeared to perk up a bit early in the third quarter, with a Katie May pass finding a cutting Bridget Arcidiacono for an easy lay-up and May later finding Arcidiacono for a 3-pointer and 20-17 lead with 5:50 left in the frame. Sanford ripped off the next 11 points and closed the quarter on a 13-2 run as Wood couldn’t get shots to drop on one end and get stops on the other.
“It was only an eight point game and I don’t think we could have played any worse in the first three quarters,” McDonald said. “There wasn’t a lot of energy, there certainly wasn’t a lot of offense and it never changed for us.”
Trailing in the second half, the Vikings started to attack the basket more, but even still weren’t able to finish with any consistency. As a team, Wood shot a combined 12-of-52 from the floor but they did toughen up on the glass late with Orihel and Annie Whalen combining for six offensive boards in the final quarter.
“I have to look at what I’m doing too and see what I can do to get them in better spots,” McDonald said. “We want to attack the basket more and attack it stronger but also when we get open shots, we have to do a better job of knocking them down.”
Wood has two Catholic League games this week, taking on Hallahan on Tuesday then heading down to Cardinal O’Hara on Friday for a rematch of last year’s PCL title game. The Lions looked impressive Sunday when they downed New Jersey’s Life Center Academy and their numerous sharpshooters will test Wood’s defense.
“We have a lot of new kids playing so I think the chemistry is what’s a little ‘off’ for us right now,” McDonald said. “We’re used to having one kid go this way and another immediately move to the next spot and we’re not quite there yet.”
SANFORD 47, ARCHBISHOP WOOD 32
SANFORD 11 4 15 17 – 47
ARCHBISHOP WOOD 6 8 8 10 – 32
Archbishop Wood: Bridget Arcidiacono 2 0-0 5, Mia Andrews 1 0-0 3, Annie Whalen 1 0-0 2, Erin Morgan 2 0-0 4, Katie May 2 1-5 5, Ryleigh Parsons 2 2-2 8, Kaitlyn Orihel 2 1-2 5. Nonscoring: Liz Fasti, Lindsay Tretter, Noelle Baxter. Totals: 12 4-9 32
3-pointers: Parsons 2, Arcidiacono, Andrews.